himself accepting a deferred prosecution agreement that requires him
to work with a therapist—Sean McGuire (Robin Williams)—while
studying under Professor Lambeau. Lambeau immediately sets Will up
with a multitude of job interviews in mathematical fields, despite
McGuire’s insistence that he be treated psychologically first. In this
case, however, the professor—Professor Gerry Lambeau—is not
entirely selfish in his exploitation of mathematical savant, Will Hunting.
In an exchange with McGuire, Lambeau says, “If we don’t show him
that there’s value in what he can do, when this is over he’s going to go
right back to where he was when I found him.” Lambeau truly believes
that he’s giving Will an opportunity for intellectual success that he
would not have had as a janitor. McGuire replies to Lambeau, “It’s not
about what you want him to do. It’s about the boys’ best interest.” The
problem, as McGuire tries to tell Lambeau, is that the professor is
exploiting Hunting’s intellect to achieve Lambeau’s definition of
success. If Lambeau were to be truly unselfish in helping Will, then he
would take the time to learn what Will’s definition of success would be
based on his goals and values. The “good professor,” like the professors
I have been fortunate enough to work with, would align his intellectual
guidance toward the student’s definition of success, rather than
exploiting the student’s intellect to achieve the professor’s definition of
success.
Now that I have provided adequate descriptions of the first two
variables in my model of the Hollywood professor, I find this to be an
appropriate time to introduce the third variable: the interaction variable.
An interaction variable essentially controls for any commonality
between the other variables so that one does not assume each variable
uniquely influences the response variable if that is not true. Throughout
my discussion of the sexual and intellectual exploitation variables, there
has been a recurring theme. In the examples I gave of professors from
movies who exploit their students either sexually or intellectually, they
do so by acting on their students’ attraction to them in hopes of
fulfilling various selfish agendas or needs. In a sense, the students feel
a blind love for their professors that results from the instructors’ role
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